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Canstruction – Unicycle Creative helps sustain food banks with food selfie art

May 5th, 2016 · No Comments


What does a stack of 3500 cans of food look like? Almost anything you can imagine. Unicycle Creative was proud to join the 2016 Canstruction event, as part of a team with Omni Engineering, to help make a super sized dent in the needs of the Vancouver Food Bank.

filltheplate2The show theme was ‘Who’s Hungry’, and the Uni/Omni team answered that briefing with an 8-foot tall sculpture that asked people to literally be part of the solution.

We constructed a giant plate and place setting, with a custom poster stand that doubled as a camera-phone holder, allowing viewers to take their own selfie, and post it under the hashtag #FillThePlate.

21 teams used over 80,000 cans of food, all of which go to the good folks at the Vancouver Food Bank. Extra special props and thanks go to Scott Grey and Met Fine Printers, who help make this event such a soul filling success.





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Where is the Big Green World going? – Globe 2016 Highlights

March 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Attending huge eco conferences where people jet in from all over the planet to discuss sustainability can feel counter-intuitive. And this year’s Globe 2016 conference in Vancouver, which I attended with Unicycle Creative client London Drugs, certainly offered moments of irony.

Yet from the opening presentation, delivered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to the closing panel hosted by four of Canada’s most environmentally progressive Premiers, Globe 2016 also delivered inspiration, innovation and a real sense of opportunity.

Here are some highlights:

Global corporations continue to build sustainability into their business models.

2 Billion people worldwide a Unilever product every day. Dove, Axe, Lipton, Vaseline, Skippy and Popsicle (to name just a few) may not sound like the greenest brands, yet the ubercorp behind them has set some solid sustainability goals. By 2020, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan proposes to halve the environmental impact of their products, source all agricultural products sustainably and halve the waste associated with disposal of their products. This is just one example of how global thinking has changed – it is no longer good enough for companies to ignore what happens further up and down their value chain.

General Fusion Green Power

More world-changing inventions are coming.

It sometimes seems like everything under the sun has been done. One tour around the Globe 2016 Expo floor quickly dispels that myth. Take cement, for instance – one of the world’s most carbon-intensive building materials.
JustBioFiber carbon negative brickJustBioFiber has melded straw waste with LEGO block construction to create a replacement for concrete building foundations that is actually carbon negative. These bricks are also easy to work with and provide incredible insulation value.
On the more futuristic end of the spectrum, the General Fusion booth promised “Clean Energy. Everywhere. Forever.” While the future of viable fusion energy is still likely many years off, it was encouraging to know there are people working hard to make it happen. I definitely gave them the award for Most Impressive Giant Steel Machine.

BMW electric car test driveElectric cars are still awesome.

From the humble Nissan Leaf to the mighty BMW i8, various forms of electric and hybrid transportation were prominently displayed. But the most fun I had was test-driving the BMW i3. (See the London Drugs Green Deal Globe 2016 recap video above) This nimble, speedy cube offers clean practicality and German-engineered performance. It’s no Tesla, but starting at $45,300, its definitely another step in the right direction for more sustainable urban transport.

Companies that make sustainability a priority are not alone.

Sharing the Globe 2016 experience with my client, London Drugs, made it clear that one of the conference’s most persistent values is that of community. Learning lessons from leading brands like Unilever, BASF, Philips, Seventh Generation and Levi Strauss, helps executives see past the day-to-day stresses of management to the bigger picture of brand and global survival. The world is moving ahead in a bolder, greener direction, and companies that embrace this evolution stand to profit. As P.M. Justin Trudeau put it, “The business of building clean economies has gone mainstream”

I look forward to seeing how far we can take it by the time Globe 2018 comes back to town.





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Want to save an ecosystem? Re-brand it.

February 10th, 2016 · No Comments

Great Bear rainforest Branding

The 2016 deal to manage The Great Bear Rainforest has been hailed as one of the most significant environmental agreements in history. And it all began, as many great ideas have, scribbled on the back of a napkin.

20 years ago, this six-million hectare swath of continent was known simply as the “Mid-Coast Timber Supply Area” – a designation that truly represented the views of government and industry; namely, that British Columbia was simply one big resource basket to be divided up between corporate interests. Activist Tzeporah Berman was working with Greenpeace at the time, and knew a greater vision was needed to effect change.

“We were sitting around at dinner one night in a cheap Italian restaurant with a bottle of great wine,” she wrote in her 2011 memoir This Crazy Time, “We needed a name that immediately defined the area. We wanted people to hear the name and be mad as hell that anybody could turn it into toilet paper.”

That discussion led to one of the most effective ecosystem brands ever created. Berman’s words tell it all: “The Mid-Coast Timber Supply Area sounded like an aisle at Home Depot. The Great Bear Rainforest was definitely something that people wanted to protect.”

Greenpeace then took out a full-page ad in the New York Times, literally putting the Great Bear Rainforest on the map.

Of course, like any brand success story, a great name and idea were just the beginning. Reaching agreement took decades of activism, government vision, corporate evolution, and First Nations involvement.  The result is a deal that protects vast tracts of intact ecosystem, offers a secure timber supply to forest companies and provides economic development opportunities to the First Nations people who have lived there for centuries. (You can read more about the deal and its architects in this excellent Vancouver Observer article)

Is it wrong that it takes a catchy name to galvanize people into action? Are we so shallow that we can’t look past the surface and make rational decisions based on facts?

Well, yes and no. It’s true that the vast majority will never invest the time to really learn about the complex issues that affect our political, environmental and economic development decisions. But that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Today’s world of digital and information overload means we need mental short-cuts to allow us to make decisions quickly, that still line up with our values.

The Mid-Coast Timber Supply Area is huge. It’s full of trees. It’s awesome. It is abundant with wildlife. It provides vital oxygen and carbon-capture for our planet. It flows with fresh water. If protecting any of these values is important to you, Great Bear Rainforest sums it all up in three words. Saving that? Sign me up.

Branding has played a big part in the cancerous growth of our society’s wasteful, polluting, consumer culture. It can bring equal power to healing, restoring and evolving past that legacy.

Now, let’s talk about the ‘Site C Dam….

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How the German brands blinked on the Electric Car.

September 14th, 2015 · No Comments


It’s one thing for a potentially deluded Silicon Valley entrepreneur like Elon Musk to develop a plug-in electric luxury supercar and say the game has changed. But when auto makers like Audi and Porsche jump onto the track… well, that IS a different game.

1430586378028145185At the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show both of these venerable German luxury auto makers revealed high-end electric-only prototype vehicles – the E-Tron Quattro Concept and the Mission E respectively. With a projected 300+ MILE range, both are a generation ahead of the BMW i8 and i3 electrics currently available.  The Audi and Porsche concepts aren’t destined to hit showrooms for a few years yet, but the writing is on the wall.

Because the real challenge of electric vehicle adoption may have less to do with technology than it has to do with brands.

Elon Musk’s Tesla badge has been riding a big electric wave of amazing automotive press reviews (for the Model S sedan) and buoyant stock market excitement. But it’s still a car company that is has only been around since 2003. My Honda is that old. So it takes a definite early adopter mindset to sink 60 to 80 thousand dollars or so into one of their electronic rocketships.

Put a Porsche, BMW or Audi emblem on the side however, and potential buyers are suddenly reassured by  decades of brand equity, resale value and prestige.

Even though these major automakers will be big competition for Tesla, it’s likely that Musk and his crew are high-fiving at the news. With these kind of commitments, the internal combustion luxury industry may have just validated the Tesla product and elected its brand as their leader.

Whether Tesla can hold that position remains to be seen.

Follow-up reading: Here’s a thought – will the gasoline car go the way of the flip phone and tube television?


→ No CommentsTags: Brand Identity · Green in Europe · Green Points of View · Green Positive · Sustainable Lifestyle · Sustainable Products

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Using irritating sounds to sell… peace and quiet.

June 10th, 2015 · No Comments

The Silent Gardener is a BC company that usually likes to be as unobtrusive as possible. But when making their new video, Unicycle Creative decided to get under peoples’ skin a bit.

Opening with the dental-filling-shaking sounds of a Harley Davidson, the video asks a simple question: Ever want to just turn down the world?


The answer, of course, is to start in your own back yard.

In the Lower Mainland (Vancouver) market, there is a rich urban soundscape, including our share of audio irritants. There is also a strong appreciation for the beauty and general peacefulness of our surroundings. This strategy gives people an option to do something about their own personal ‘sound footprint’ by considering a quieter landscaping option.

Because The Silent Gardener specializes in commercial properties, stratas and green roofs, it was also important to show off some of their larger scale electrical equipment, including hedge trimmers and even a ride-on mower that can quietly cut acres of grass.

ggrp-sound-silent-gardener-smYours truly illustrated and animated the video, and real life footage was shot by Jason Robinson of Sustainability Television. Vancouver sound studio GGRP provided the voiceover track and sound effects.

So what’s YOUR sound-pollution footprint? Do you own a motorcycle with straight pipes? Or do you wear soft-soled shoes in the yard so as not to disturb the snoozing squirrels?

Either way, you might want to consider a quieter, greener landscaping option. And now you know where to find them, quietly working away.

→ No CommentsTags: Environment · Green Creative · Green Points of View · Production · Social Media · Sustainable Lifestyle · Sustainable Products · Unicycle Case Studies

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Let’s look at the Big Picture of local food.

May 18th, 2015 · 2 Comments


According to a study by the Conference Board of Canada, consumers are starting to demand more local choices on their plates. Maybe that’s part of the reason chef Randy Jones’ Mile One Eating House, in Pemberton BC, has taken off. From local grass-fed beef burgers to Pemberton potato fries on the side, the Mile One recipe for success starts right in their own back yard.

So when Mile One expanded their operation to provide an open kitchen local market area, they wanted a way to celebrate the local bounty and show their customers just how much the Pemberton Valley has to offer.


Click for a closer look!

They commissioned a piece of in-store art showing as many of the valley’s features (and quirks) as possible in a huge illustrated Lorne Craig cartooned poster.

As a recreational property owner in the area for almost 20 years, I was able to bring some of my own local knowledge to the table, and work with the Mile One team to identify key farming and food production areas up and down the valley. Randy also had no problem having some fun with local identity, which makes the piece a little more edgy and entertaining.

mile-one-detailNot only does the illustration work as a holistic local valley zeitgeist, it is also high-resolution enough that the Mile One marketing team can use its myriad characters for any number of branding and marketing projects.

Consumers indicate that some of their motivation for purchasing local food is to support their local economy and farmers. Many also believe that local produce is fresher than alternatives.

All good reasons to check out the Mile One Eating House, and have a look at what local character can really bring to the table.


The real thing, with a compostable to-go container!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Art · Unicycle Case Studies

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  • 1 Randy Jones // May 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Nice work Lorne, the locals are having a great time picking out features they all know on the map! Just what we needed for the new space!

  • 2 admin // May 21, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks, Randy! Feeling the local love!

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Want to REALLY waste taxpayer dollars? Vote NO in the transit referendum.

May 11th, 2015 · No Comments


It’s hard to believe, but there may actually be a more wasteful process for improving Metro Vancouver’s transit system than the one proposed by the Mayor’s Council. And if the NO vote carries the day, we’re all going to get to see it first hand. And pay for it.

How can that possibly be?

Let’s begin by understanding that saying ‘NO’ is not a plan. In fact, it’s not even really a YES / NO situation.  A more accurate wording choice would be, CONTINUE / RESTART.

Ah, but what about the no-tax-better-plan website? Certainly THAT offers a plan? Well, if you really read it, not so much. It’s more like 90% tax protest and 10% vague concept put forth by a group of ‘everyday people who live across our great region’. A fine example of grassroots democracy, to be sure. But it’s FAR from the debated and agreed-upon priority list pushed through the painful filters of political reality by the region’s Mayors.

Therefore, a NO vote really means ‘Back to the Drawing Board’. And we all know how that plays out. Committees, studies, delays and infighting. Kaching, Kaching, Kaching. All while we watch construction, land and opportunity costs rise, and congestion get worse.

So if you really want to change Translink, improve the plan and make things better, vote YES. Then get on a committee. Go to public meetings. Write letters. Hold our leaders responsible.

But PLEASE don’t vote NO and waste even more of our money on a restart none of us can afford.

For a more ‘YES’ oriented approach, have a look at the video below, which Unicycle Creative recently helped produce with HUB, Vancouver’s Cycling Connection.


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End of the Stinky Hockey Bag? New compostable pads offer hope.

April 1st, 2015 · 2 Comments

bio-jockLeave it to a Canadian entrepreneur to solve a problem that has plagued hockey for as long as the game has been played. ‘Bio-Jock’, a new line of single use, compostable hockey pads, is being developed by Vancouver businessman Ian Schraeker with the assistance of the UBC Sports Medicine Clinic and Solid Waste Services of Metro Vancouver.

“The stinky hockey bag is an unfortunate icon of our culture,” Schraeker says, “We are going to change all that. We now have the technology to make hockey protective gear as biodegradable as paper towels.”

Initial prototypes use waste material from sugar cane production called ‘bagasse’. It’s moisture-wicking, renewable, and has a shock-absorption rating to match that of closed-cell urethane foam. Schraeker says testing in simulated game collision modelling should be completed at UBC this month. Composting tests are also underway with the ‘used’ equipment at Metro Vancouver’s compost test facility.

So when will these pads be ready to cut the locker room funk at a local arena near you?

“We’re starting with the smallest, but most critical piece of gear,” Schraeker says, “The jock contributes more molecular stank per gram than any other piece of hockey equipment. So we plan to be into complete manufacturing of those by April 1st 2016. But until testing is complete, we don’t recommend anyone try composting these at home. You wouldn’t want to grow carrots from that dirt.”


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  • 1 Paul @ Eco Stores // Apr 2, 2015 at 5:19 am

    What a clever idea, and the use of “molecular stank per gram” had me in stitches. Hope it gets to market!

  • 2 admin // Apr 2, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Thanks Paul. I wouldn’t want to be in the alley on compost bin pickup day, though!

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Can a shopping bag trigger more contagious recycling?

March 20th, 2015 · 1 Comment

How many times has this happened to you: – you arrive at the grocery store and realize that you have left your growing stack of reusable bags at home AGAIN, and short leaving a trail of loose carrots and dented tomato sauce cans leading to your door, you are forced to capitulate to the shame of plastic bags.

It’s not your fault. It’s all about triggers. This is just one of the theories in the bestselling book Contagious, Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger. The author contends that the strongest mental triggers reminding you to take your bags don’t occur until you get to the store – and by then it’s too late. If you want to remind people to bring bags, this activity should be related to (and triggered by) something at the beginning of the shopping experience. (Like making the list, for instance)

London Drugs recycling bagsSo how can this theory affect recycling uptake? Canadian retailer London Drugs has a great recycling program, taking back everything from TV’s and computers to CFL light bulbs and small appliances. So we thought, why not trigger the reminder to recycle (and visit LD) at the outset of the shopping trip?

Unicycle Creative designed a large, robust recycling bag, featuring animated characters that represent a wide variety of take-backs. There’s also a cheat-sheet on one side panel, and links to the London Drugs info site on the other.

The idea is that consumers will be reminded to take their recycling in to London Drugs, just as they prep for their shopping trip.

The bags (which contain recycled content and themselves are recyclable) have been rolled out over the course of the first quarter at London Drugs events and special occasions. So far, anecdotally, they have had a great visual impact.

So next time you have a reminder for people, consider the power of triggers, and focus on keeping them relevant and immediate to the heart of your audience and their stages of participation.

Oh, and if you want any illustrated triggers as well, let me know.

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  • 1 Gaia Guy // Apr 14, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Great video! Also a great idea. I’ve done some landscaping and even market gardening and whenever the ear protection comes out you know someone’s getting screwed.

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If you REALLY want to know about advertising, green marketing and how to curb your ego, read this book.

March 1st, 2015 · No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 12.04.37 AMMarc Stoiber is a force of nature. I almost said freak of nature, but I didn’t. Not sure why, because he’s that, too.

Not only did he build a dazzling career, drinking with the world’s creative elite and working on brands that would make Don Draper salivate, he threw it all away in a mid-life bid to create the ultimate green agency (sound familiar?) sold it to focus on a career fostering innovation, then threw all THAT away to go surfing in Bali for a year and write a book.

How irritating.

But try as I might, I can’t do anything but admire Marc, and heartily recommend his new book ‘Didn’t See it Coming’ for anyone interested in the creative mind, our messed up planet and the Venn diagram intersection of those two irregular shapes.

In a tight 144 pages, Stoiber takes us through an honest look at the changing advertising business, a glimpse of future-proofing and a side-track of Zen and the art of brand self examination before opening the door to a world where failure is beautiful, secrecy is a myth and REAL design matters.

A few quotes:

“In high school, the career counselor asked me what I imagined myself doing for a living. I said I didn’t know, but I saw myself getting off an airplane in a good suit.”

“While big brand executives tinker, garage entrepreneurs invent bullets that will take those brands out of commission.”

“The Stupid Curve… we’ve been flooded with amazing devices, toys and tools…and you’ve been sentenced to life as a newbie, feeling perennially stupid and incompetent.”

Tasty and even relatively easy to digest.

If you’re at all curious about what’s coming up on the horizon, read ‘Didn’t See It Coming’. You won’t look back.

Go buy a copy of Marc’s book on here.



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